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C82SAD: Social Cognition and Social Thinking. Social cognition and Information Processing What is social cognition? Social Cognition is how... Attitudes.

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Presentation on theme: "C82SAD: Social Cognition and Social Thinking. Social cognition and Information Processing What is social cognition? Social Cognition is how... Attitudes."— Presentation transcript:

1 C82SAD: Social Cognition and Social Thinking

2 Social cognition and Information Processing What is social cognition? Social Cognition is how... Attitudes Perceptions of ourselves and others (representations) Judgements Expectations …influence our beliefs, intentions and behaviour Assumes a rational, reasoned decision maker Information processing perspective

3 What is Social Cognition? Comprises a set of cognitive structures and processes that affect and are affected by social context People are assumed to be cognitive misers Cognitive short-cuts tend to be adopted Toward cognitive economy Stereotypes are good examples

4 Social Cognition: Key Points Cognitive processes for understanding how people construct own social world = social cognition (Bless et al, 2004; Fisk & Taylor, 1991). Applies theories and methods from cognitive psychology e.g. memory, attention, inference and concept formation for understanding perceptions of others

5 Experience and Categorisation World provides too much information Parts of perception recorded from environment - attention People devise short-cut strategies to simplify nature of the incoming information Categorisation - way of simplifying perceptions

6 Categorisation Grouping of objects - treated in similar way e.g. square is a square, lecturer is a lecturer –Promotes cognitive economy Object either belongs to a category or does not (Bruner et al, 1956) But: Categories not all or none Prototypical approach (Barsalou, 1991) –Members share something in common - not completely identical for membership

7 How are Categories Represented? Schemata - how categories are represented Cognitive representation of the prototype People generalise in time and in space about objects characteristics and properties Dependent on individuals personal experiences involving object – actual, imagined or implied Generalisation process and outcome (i.e. categorisation) called schema

8 Schema Organised sets of information about people, behaviours, groups of people, yourself etc. Once evoked or activated schemas tend to bias all aspects of information processing and inference Schemas can be implicitly activated and affect judgement and behaviour very easily beyond our conscious awareness Similar schema will be activated at the same time Guide how we encode (attend, interpret), remember and respond (judge and interact) For example, Bargh, Chen, & Burrows

9 Automaticity Example Subliminal priming of the old-age stereotype (Bargh, Chen & Burrows, 1996) –worried, Florida, old, lonely, gray Walked more slowly to hatchway at end of corridor compared to neutral primed participants Therefore people behave according to the primed schema = old-age stereotype

10 How Schemas Work: Sagar & Schofields (1980) Racial Bias Study Purpose: Demonstrate that stereotypes bias intepretation of ambiguous events Participants: 40 African American (AA), 40 White (W) Method: Participants presented with ambiguous drawings (e.g. bumps, asks for cake, pokes, takes pencil) with actors depicted as W or AA, participants rated behaviour as mean, threatening, playful, friendly Results: Both AA and W participants rated behaviour as more threatening when the actor was AA Conclusion: Schemas influence the interpretation of ambiguous events

11 Remembering Schemas represented in memory as: –lists of linked features - associative memory model nodes for concepts and links to related nodes e.g. doctor caring nurse –prototype or ideal instances model central examples clustered around prototype peripheral examples of the prototype further away in mental space

12 The Naive Scientist How people think about other people (Heider, 1958) Inferring unobservable causes from observable behaviour or other perceived information Cause-effect processing of social information –dispositions (internal e.g. traits) & situations (external) Attribution of causes for behaviour from stimuli perceived (Kelley, 1972; Gilbert, 1998; Jones & Davis, 1965, etc) Impression formation – social perception (Asch, 1946)

13 Impression Formation Certain information more important in forming an impression –Central and peripheral traits (Asch, 1946; Kelley, 1950). First vs. more recent impressions count. –Accounting for the primacy-recency effect (Asch, 1946; Luchins, 1957). Earlier information is the real person Later information dismissed - its not viewed as typical / representative (Luchins, 1957) Attention at a maximum when making initial impressions (Anderson, 1975) Early information affects meaning of later information (Asch, 1946) - consistency

14 The Cognitive Miser Social perception as a problem solving task Cognitive laziness - cognitive miser (Fisk & Taylor, 1991) Rely on heuristics for decision making and interpersonal perception Process salient information - that which stands out

15 Heuristics Availability of information - judging frequency of event based on number of instances brought to mind of that event Anchoring and adjustment - using information about a similar event to infer causes Simulation - ease of imagining alternatives through mental simulation Representativeness - whether person is an example of a particular stored schema (Stereotype).

16 Stereotypes.....widely shared assumptions of the personalities, attitudes and behaviour of people based on group membership.... (Hogg & Vaughan, 1995, p. 56)......inclination to place a person in categories according to some..... characteristics.... and then to attribute... qualities believed to be typical to members of that category... (Tagiuri, 1969)

17 Stereotypes Overall impressions (attitudes) of other people and their behaviour tends to be dominated by stereotypes Organised sets of information, characteristics, first impressions and idiosyncratic personal constructs (e.g., Peoples impressions are made through averaging these components but they tend to be dominated by particular ones (e.g., potential threat)

18 Stereotyping Process Assign individual to a group - categorise –Based on accessible characteristic e.g. gender, race, age. Activate belief that all members of this group behave etc. in same way Infer that individual must posses stereotypical characteristics Respond to individual on this basis

19 Stereotyping Process Automaticity in stereotyping (Macrae & Bodenhausen, 2000) –fast acting, difficult to change, no intentional control of operations, no conscious awareness –Encountering stimulus in environment (or even internally generated) categories are activated automatically (Lepore & Brown, 1997; Bargh, 1999; Banaji & Greenwald, 1995) –Heightened accessibility of material following prime e.g. hospital primes nurse, caring etc.

20 Theories of Attribution Internal and external attributions (Rotter, 1966) Naïve scientist model (Heider, 1958) Correspondent inference theory (Jones & Davis, 1965) Attributional bias model (Kelley, 1967) Attribution theory (Weiner, 1986) Attribution of emotions (Schacter & Singer, 1962)

21 Attributional Bias Fundamental attribution error (Jones & Harris, 1967; Ross, 1977) Actor-observer effect (Jones & Nisbett, 1972) Attributional bias (Kelly, 1950) Self-serving bias (Miller & Ross, 1975)

22 Definition Attribution is the process of assigning causes for our own behaviour to that of others Hogg & Vaughan (2005)

23 Heiders Naïve Scientist Suggests that people create theories of other people based on observation of behavior Inferring unobservable causes from observable behaviour or other perceived information

24 Everyone is a Naïve Scientist Internal (dispositional) attributions –personality characteristics –beliefs External (situational) attributions –situational pressure/influence Example: Student turns in papers late –Internal:

25 Everyone is a Naïve Scientist Internal (dispositional) attributions –personality characteristics –beliefs External (situational) attributions –situational pressure/influence Example: Student turns in papers late –Internal:lazy, partying all the time

26 Everyone is a Naïve Scientist Internal (dispositional) attributions –personality characteristics –beliefs External (situational) attributions –situational pressure/influence Example: Student turns in papers late –Internal:lazy, partying all the time –External:

27 Everyone is a Naïve Scientist Internal (dispositional) attributions –personality characteristics –beliefs External (situational) attributions –situational pressure/influence Example: Student turns in papers late –Internal:lazy, partying all the time –External:family problems, working, boy/girlfriend

28 Everyone is a Naïve Scientist Internal (dispositional) attributions –personality characteristics –beliefs External (situational) attributions –situational pressure/influence Example: Student turns in papers late –Internal:lazy, partying all the time –External:family problems, working, boy/girlfriend

29 Self-Serving Bias Aim to protect our self-esteem Consistent with social cognitive theories on motivation for consistency Tendency to serve ourselves Take credit for success (attribute internally) But not for failure (attribute externally) Maintains control and consistency

30 Self-Serving Bias E.g. student will take credit for doing well in an exam Student will blame test difficulty or lecturers tough marking policy for failure Miller & Ross (1975) cognitive explanation due to restricted information NOT because they are motivated to protect or enhance the self

31 Actor-Observer Effect OBSERVER-->Internal attribution ACTOR-->External attribution What is salient in the perceptual field? i.e. what INFORMATION is available for the observer and the actor? For OBSERVER: The actor For ACTOR: Everything but the actor (i.e., the situation)

32 Actor-Observer Effect Harré, Brandt & Houkamau (2004) The attributions of young drivers for their own and their friends' risky driving Dispositional attributions e.g., "Showing off, acting cool" used more for friends than self Situational attributions e.g., "In a hurry, late" used more for self than friends Participants also rated their friends as taking more risks than themselves

33 Correspondent Inference Theory Jones & Davis (1965): People make attributions based on: Underlying traits Based on freely chosen behaviour Observed behaviour is matched with traits regardless of: –Situation –Consequences –Personal or public –Socially desirable Does not account for past experience, stereotypes Does not look at non-intentional behaviour

34 The Fundamental Attribution Error Ross (1977) when observing behaviour people tend to: Overestimate the significance of DISPOSITIONAL factors Underestimate the significance of SITUATIONAL factors Also indicative of the actor-observer effect (Jones & Nisbett, 1972) – we know we are different across situations –Perspective hypothesis –Information availability Jones and Harris (1967) classic experiment illustrated this bias

35 Jones and Harris (1967): Study Design Pro-CastroAnti-Castro Chosen Choice, Pro-Castro Choice, Anti-Castro Not Chosen No Choice, Pro-Castro No Choice, Anti-Castro IV2: Writers Position IV1: Writers Ability to Chose position

36 Hypothesised Summary of Results

37 Results Pro-CastroAnti-Castro Chosen59.617.4 Not Chosen 44.122.9 IV2: Writers Position IV1: Writers Ability to Chose position

38 Summary of Results

39 Built on Heiders (1958) ideas about attributions of cause of others behaviour Key point: Attribution of cause to the person or environment in situations is a major problem Heider (1958) suggested that if behaviour seems appropriate in a given situation, then people tend to make a situational attribution Kelley (1967) outlined WHEN a situational or dispositional attribution is made and WHY Kelleys (1967, 1973) Attributional Bias

40 Three key questions in a given situation: –Does the person regularly behave this way in this situation? (consistency) –Do other people regularly behave this way in this situation? (consensus) –Does this person behave this way in other situations? (distinctiveness) Kelleys (1967, 1973) Attributional Bias

41 Distinctiveness? Consistency?Consensus? Kelleys (1967, 1973) Attributional Bias Attributional problem: You are in a long queue in a shop with your friend. He/she is getting increasingly irritated with how long its taking. Does your friends frustration tell us something about their personality? Key questions Attribution YesNo Yes No Attribution No basis for attributing frustration to either situation or personality. May be a one-off. Situational attribution: People DO tend to get frustrated in long queues Personality attribution, general: Your friend does the tendency to get frustrated in these sorts of situations. (Stay out of his/her way!) Personality attribution, particular: Your friend tends to get frustrated in queues. (Dont go shopping with him/her on busy days!) Q1: Does your friend usually get frustrated when standing in long queues? Q2: Do other people generally get frustrated when standing in long queues? Q3: Does your friend generally get frustrated in other situations involving long waits?

42 Emotional Lability Theory Schacter and Singers (1962) classic experiment Subjects were: –Injected with epinephrine (suproxin), euphoric condition –Injected with epinephrine (suproxin), anger- evoking condition –Injected with placebo, euphoric condition –Injected with placebo, anger-evoking condition Further condition added – information about injection consistent with side effects, inconsistent with side effects

43 Schachter and Singers Experimental Design Euphoria –Placebo –Epinephrine Informed –Epinephrine Uninformed –Epinephrine Misinformed Anger –Placebo –Epinephrine Informed –Epinephrine Uninformed

44 Emotional Lability Theory Schacter and Singers (1962) classic experiment Expectation: Epinephrine subjects would experience more arousal than controls, unless they were told consistent side effects in which case they would correctly attribute their feelings to the drug and have no change in their emotions

45 Schacter and Singers Results EuphoriaAnger Placebo160.79 Epinephrine Informed 12.7-0.18 Epinephrine Uninformed 18.32.28 Epinephrine Misinformed 22.6

46 Schacter and Singers Results

47

48 Attributions –inferences about causes Achievement behavior depends on how previous successes and failures are interpreted People make causal attributions for their behavioural outcomes Attributions affect thoughts, feelings, and behaviour Weiners (1972) Attribution Theory

49 Draws from Rotters (1966) theory of internal and external attributions Rotter developed a questionnaire to measure locus of control People tended to attribute causes of events to internal (personal control over behaviour) Or external (occurrences due to environment or chance out of personal control) Weiner (1972) included further dimensions of attribution = stability and controllability Weiners (1972) Attribution Theory

50 People tend to attribute successes or failures to any of four typical causes: Ability Effort Difficulty Luck Weiners (1972) Attribution Theory

51 Weiner (1972) Attributional Dimensions Locus of causalityLocus of controlStability Basic Attribution Categories

52 Attribution Dimensions Attributions can be classified along three dimensions: 1) Locus of Causality -Is the cause internal or external? 2) Stability -Is the cause stable or unstable? 3) Locus of control -Does the person have control over the outcome? Attribution Theory

53 Attributed causes according to Internal-External (Locus of Causality), Stability and Controllability continuums Ability Internal, stable, uncontrollable Effort Internal, unstable, controllable Difficulty External, stable, controllable/uncontrollable Luck External, unstable, uncontrollable

54 Weiner (1972) Attributional Dimensions Stability Locus of Causality Stable External Stable Internal Unstable Internal Unstable External AbilityDifficulty EffortLuck

55 Weiner (1972) Attributional Dimensions Stable Internal Controllable Stable External Controllable Unstable Internal Controllable Unstable External Controllable Stability Locus of Causality Controllability Stable External Uncontrollable Unstable External Uncontrollable Stable Internal Uncontrollable Unstable Internal Uncontrollable Stable External Controllable Stable Internal Controllable Unstable Internal Controllable Unstable External Controllable AbilityDifficulty EffortLuck ? ? ?


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